Critical Pedagogies module (CO50012)

Explore the role of community work in action for social change. You will critically analyse values-based community practice within wider societal contexts

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Module code


A commitment to social justice and human rights underpins Community Education. This means that community educators need to understand practice within wider societal contexts. This specifically applies to the causes of inequality and injustice. This is critical to striving for social change.

In this module you will reflect on what this means to your practice.

You will critique Community Education practice within a justice framework. This will incorporate political, economic, and cultural aspects. You will also conduct a structural audit to identify institutionalised obstacles. These are things that prevent some people from participating as full partners in social interaction.

What you will learn

In this module, you will:

  • explore key theories, philosophies, and processes that underpin critical community practice
  • analyse the political ideologies that underlie policy and legislative responses to social issues
  • explore the role of power dynamics and structural inequalities. You will look at the role they play in processes of transformative social change
  • apply deeper level analysis, evaluation and synthesis to key concepts, philosophies, values, and principles of critical community practice

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • A critical understanding of philosophies, theories, and processes of transformative change. You will also understand the role of critical community practice within it
  • A critical awareness of policy developments. You will also have an awareness of political ideologies and assumptions within a broader sociological framework
  • An extensive, detailed, and critical knowledge and understanding of the centrality of concepts of power and empowerment to critical pedagogies
  • A critical awareness of the impact of structural inequalities and social divisions on processes of transformative social change
  • The ability to synthesise your learning in relation to the values and contexts of critical community practice

Assignments / assessment

6,000-word essay (100%)

  • set in Week 1
  • due in Week 16

This module does not have a final exam.

Teaching methods / timetable

  • workshops (two 6 hour session, one at the start and one at the end of the semester)
  • seminars (five 2 hour sessions, run fortnightly through the semester)

Typically, the programme of seminars looks like this:

  1. 'Thinking conceptually: social Justice & critical practice'
  2. 'Social Justice, young people, democracy & activism'
  3. 'Power, racism & critical practice'
  4. 'Community development and environmental justice'
  5. 'Stigma, discrimination and community development'


This module is available on following courses: